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For the past couple of weeks we’ve been beta testing a review product called GrammarPlanet. It’s been an interesting ride! Seriously. There is much I like, and stuff we struggled with. Normal for testing a Beta program eh? This challenging program will cause you to slow down and really look at, and therefore better understand, the sentences that you read.
Who and What is Grammar Planet?
GrammarPlanet is a comprehensive and completely online grammar, punctuation, and usage curriculum. They are a mastery based program that is to be used for 15 minutes at a time. Started by Erin Karl and Jerry Bailey they wanted to find an online way to present Analytical Grammar.
What do you get:
An online computer program containing a PDF, a video, practice question and a test. These components make up each unit. The video is rather cool in that it teaches a part (for instance what makes up an article) and then it pauses for a short quiz to make sure you understand the material presented. Most videos have three or four of those quiz breaks. If you didn’t understand that section you can do it over again.
Once you have completed the video you can either watch it again or move on to the practice questions. The number of practice questions is completely dependent upon how well you are doing with the program. If you are struggling you get more, if you are progressing rapidly you get less. You cannot progress unless you pass the unit before. As a student you will need your parent/teacher to unlock the lesson so you can complete it again before moving forward. Being a mastery based program it’s important to take your time (their suggestion is 15 minutes per session). If you take your time and really read over the sentences you should be able to complete them correctly over time.
How does it work in real life?
Practice questions, show up in blue, as I mentioned earlier, vary in number dependent upon skill level. Feedback is immediate.
To mark the sentence you are shown a sentence, given a chance to read and understand it, and when you click on a word, another screen pops up over it. From this screen you choose what kind of word you have clicked on. If you make a wrong choice you can clear the screen or just click on what it should be.
Below is a picture showing how the “click” looks on screen. Make sure you didn’t make any user errors before you click submit.
When submitting you will be shown if you have a correct answer….
Or an incorrect answer that was so close…
If you are struggling encouragement is offered, or ….
If you have totally messed up, you are given firm advise. (note I marked it incorrectly to show encouragement):
The designers, I found, are kind in their comments but firm when needed.
There is opportunity to review what you have accomplished. The parent can login to see student progress, and the student can see the results as well. It is an American based program just so you know for spelling purposes.
Green check correct, red x incorrect. The sentences are marked as one complete unit.
The practice questions show up in blue, the test questions in brown/beige.
Test results are posted as soon as you have completed them. You can look over any errors so you can improve next time, each lesson builds on the one before it. Nouns, Proper nouns, Adjectives, Articles etc….
Mixed results to be honest.
We initially worked on it separately, trying it out, seeing how it worked for us. Lesson one was so-so, I was surprised at my struggle, the lad was set off by program issues. It is VERY easy to use. You simply set up your account, set up your student account, hit continue progress and bam, you are in working the program. Just very easy to use. All the steps follow one after the other.
Lesson two…we both failed at miserably so I helped the lad work through unit two again. Taking our time to read the questions through and talk about our choices. Again we had some errors and loud discussions, and internet searches to help us sort things out. We are still confused about somethings but we’re learning. In fact this lesson led to us learning about gerunds (Thanks crew), and watching articles (thanks Dad). The lad remained unconvinced.
Lesson three… we couldn’t get the video to play so we worked off the PDF file only, and we worked on it together. We have not completed the lesson on his profile. I have completed it on mine…I finally found a browser that would play it through! (Chrome). I got a 96% woot woot!!! I was VERY pleased with that!
My son, a perfectionist, really struggled with this program. He is SO not a beta-tester! I don’t know how else to put it. The variety of issues we struggled with set him up to fail. The being marked wrong if just one element of a sentence was wrong bothered him immensely, the loud commercials put him on edge, the odd program glitches and the not knowing exactly how many practice questions he would work through didn’t set well with him. Dad nixed him putting any more effort into the program until more of the bugs were worked out and until mom figures the program out better!
I am not a grammar person. I was raised in Canada with our grammatical ways. 🙂 We learned grammar but honestly.. I’ve never heard of a gerund before. It has left me thinking I’m am woefully inadequate when it comes to parsing sentences. BUT that’s not a bad thing really. It forces me to slow down and really, really think about what I am doing. I am, after doing three units, a bit more aware of the “odder” nouns. 🙂
Some of the answers seemed wrong to me…. but I don’t know if that is my lack of a strong grammatical background or a failure in the program. I wanted to show a picture because I thought I saved it but the nether world ate it I think. 🙂 I’m tending to think it’s more me though. 🙁
Please do not let my concerns be a detractor for you as when we were using it, it was still a beta program. This is more for the programmers as a heads up. 🙂
My understanding when we used the “wings” was that it would encompass everything from wing to wing. That proved not to be the case. I am not quite sure why… because if a wing is to show the WHOLE PN then that should include the words in the middle too right? Otherwise we could just PN all four words and be correct.
Even though I understand this is a mastery based program, it was a solid struggle for the lad to have complete sentences come up as a red X even if he only got one part incorrect. He wondered why they couldn’t make it a yellow X or something, just to show more work needed, not the everything was wrong. And if it were possible to have the program tell us WHY something was wrong or why we might have gotten confused.
We had a problem with videos not playing through and bouncing us to the practice questions. This didn’t help in the doing the actual lesson. Also some of the videos weren’t as explanatory as we needed them to be, or even when we listened to them again, it’s like some step would be missing. Gerunds are new to us, so learning more about them would have been delightful! It did give us the opportunity to go gerund hunting online though so that was good! 🙂
The commercials. I know they are to be a temporary thing but they are WAY too loud and when they pop up on the screen in front of a question and flash… that’s headache inducing! I have learned that the commercials will be part of a free program, and therefore will suggest that the loudness and flashiness of the commercials be worked on because it will turn people off. To avoid commercials, paying for the program is effective.
The Potential that I see:
Seeing how GrammarPlanet has helped me (imagine that eh?) to have a better understanding of some of the more obscure nouns is an excellent thing. Knowing that one needs to slow down and focus on parsing (like you would with dissecting a lab animal) is extremely helpful. Slowing down, really looking at the words and how they used. Following the steps as laid out by the program instructors. Doing these things, once the glitches are worked out, will make this an excellent “learning your grammar” program. The instant feedback, the encouragement to keep trying, this is all good stuff.
I love, LOVE, how you can go back over lessons again. You can see mistakes made in the past, progress again, how easy it is to find the nouns once you figure out the articles and ask the right questions to see the adjectives.
Free as well as paid versions.
Free contains ads.
Paid is ad-free.
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